By Robert Lang
-- I harvested this 25 2/8-inch-wide 15-pointer while hunting a 10-acre parcel of private land in Muskegon County, Mich. The land adjoins 180 acres of heavily hunted public land.
My father missed this buck during a handicapped hunt on Oct. 20, 2007, three days before I shot it. He was thrilled that I was the one to get it.
I have hunted with both bow and rifle since age 14. I’m now 39. I have taken five other bucks that I felt were large enough to have mounted, but none as large as this one.
The first deer I harvested with a bow was a 19-inch-wide 10-pointer. I was 14 years old and was hunting state land. The second deer I shot at was a 12-pointer. As I let the arrow go, I made the mistake of looking at the antlers. In fact, that’s exactly where the arrow went – smack dab in the rack. From that point on, I decided never to look closely at a buck’s headgear until after I’ve made the shot.
That policy has served me well, and it’s helped control my buck fever. I’m still subject to the shakes, even when I’m shooting at a doe for the freezer.
I don 't have the greatest property to hunt, but I make up for it by spending almost every day in the woods, even if conditions aren’t perfect. If you are in the woods with a bow, you have a chance to get a deer. If you are on the couch watching television, you will not get a deer.
I have several places to hunt, so I don't wear out my spots. Besides, if you are hunting heavily used urban areas, even if you don't hunt your spot, someone else will (many people trespass where I hunt).
The deer are accustomed to human activity. I have harvested many deer that were just inside the tree line, watching the neighbor mow his lawn and paying no attention to me in a treestand. I could hear dirt bikes and people talking on both sides of me the evening I got this buck.
It came out of the creek bottom behind me after I had hit my buck grunter. I thought it was a squirrel, at first. When I realized it wasn’t, I had to turn around in the stand.
The deer was broadside at 20 yards when I let the arrow go. It ran about 90 yards, curving around before falling only 50 in front of me. I was so excited I could hardly tell my dad. I didn’t go back and look for my arrow until two days later.